Brookhaven crews Friday removed more than 200 tons of concrete, asphalt and other debris that had been dumped on roads in Manorville and Moriches as town officials sought to determine where the material came from.
Officials said the debris was dumped illegally and is the latest such incident on Long Island in recent years.
Town crews removed more than 150 tons of material from a Sunrise Highway service road near Moriches-Middle Island Road in Moriches, Brookhaven Waste Management Commissioner Matt Miner said. An additional 76 tons of debris were removed from North Street in Manorville.
The material was enough to fill eight or nine tractor-trailers, Miner said. He said no arrests have been made.
Photographs released by town Councilman Dan Panico showed mounds in Moriches containing large rocks, concrete, stones and sand. He said the debris appeared to be from construction and demolition projects.
“This stuff should be going into a landfill,” Miner said. “It shouldn’t be going on the side of roadways.”
The debris removed on Friday had been found last week, Miner said, adding it could not be removed sooner because town crews were not available until Friday. He said State Department of Environmental Conservation officials have been notified.
In a statement, a DEC spokeswoman said the agency is continuing to investigate the dumping.
Large scale illegal dumping has continued to plague Long Island since more than 40,000 tons of construction and other debris were found in Islip Town’s Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood in 2014. The park remains shuttered.
Last year, parts of West Hills County Park in Melville near Sweet Hills Riding Center were closed after the discovery of finely processed construction and demolition material.
In January, construction debris, carpeting, old furniture and other trash was found in Tanglewood Park in Coram. And last month, state authorities found nine illegal dump sites and issued nearly 200 tickets for dumping-related violations in Long Island, the Hudson Valley and New York City.
More than half of those tickets were issued on Long Island as part of roadside checkpoints near Exits 62 and 66 on the Long Island Expressway.
Officials have said they plan to use security cameras to monitor public parks in an effort to catch crews illegally leaving material there instead of taking it to a state-approved site. Officials also have called for state legislation imposing stiffer penalties for illegal dumping.
“We’re clearly just scratching the surface of this and there’s a lot that needs to be done, for sure,” Suffolk County Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), who has spearheaded county efforts to stop illegal dumping, said Friday. “It’s clear that, unfortunately, it’s been seen as the cost of doing business, the risk of small fines that some of these companies could be charged for dumping.”
Hahn said residents who find illegally dumped material should call 911. If it is found in a park, people should call the county or the town that runs that park, she said.
“We’re trying to add jail time [for violators]. We’re trying to increase fines where possible,” Hahn said. “If we have the public eyes in the park, if we have cameras in the park, hopefully we can deter and catch the people who do it.”
Brookhaven officials said there have been at least six recent incidents of illegal dumping in the town.
“More and more, this is becoming a frequent occurrence,” Panico said. “We are determined to bring these people to justice.”
Miner said he fears illegal dumping could worsen in the future because the Brookhaven town landfill, which accepts construction and demolition debris, as well as ash from incinerators, is scheduled to be closed in about eight years.
“It’s becoming an increasing problem,” Miner said. “I can only see this getting worse.”